Compared to 2011, 2012 could be seen by many as a year of recovery, particularly in the second half of the year, despite high volatility in equity capital markets. Concerns surrounding European Sovereign debt and US solvency remained high throughout the year, with recurring headlines in the press about European countries on the brink of collapse, or continous rumours of a possible Euro breakup.
Despite all of these macroeconomic difficulties, the main European equity indices (except for the Spanish Ibex- 35), showed a positive performance: the UK’s FTSE 100, which had been the most resilient in 2011, showed the lowest increase in 2012 (5.8%), while the German DAX and the French CAC 40 had outstanding runs of 29.1% and 15.2% respectively. On the other hand, the Spanish Ibex-35 was down 4.7%. The Eurostoxx 50 (benchmark index for the European equity market) finished the year up 13.8%.
Likewise, US markets ended the year with significant gains. The S&P 500 index and the technological NASDAQ were up 13.4% and 16.8% respectively, while the S&P 500 Dow Jones registered a more moderate increase of 7.3%.